Currently sitting in my daughter's living room at silly o'clock in the morning drinking a hot lemon drink as I have managed to catch a nasty cold for Christmas. We set off for Canada via the UK last Saturday morning at 4am, worried about the snow that was forecast and how it was going to impact our journey. However we made great time through France, avoiding Paris, and took an earlier ferry across the Channel.
As we reached the English coast however we were in the thick of a snowstorm, so thick you could see the shore at all. We slid off the ferry (yep -absolutely no attempt by Seafrance to grit/clear the ramp or the route out of the port). Good god - these people are in the business of moving cars around. It was shocking. Then a knuckle clenching 5 hour trip from Dover to Gatwick. In that five hours we did not see one gritting truck, plough or policeman. Shame on those who are in charge of these things, knowing that this storm was coming no-one seemed to have made any effort to prepare. Not even hills were gritted, lorries jack knifed all over the place. Anyway we did make to the hotel with minutes to spare, just in time for the Strictly final - yes I have to admit I got totally hooked on this programme in the last few months and missing it was not an option !
We spent the entire day Sunday at Gatwick airport, i.e. 8.30am to 9.15pm, with thousands of other people on tenterhooks all day watching the departures boards as there was so little information and you really weren't certain whether anything was taking off or not. Once in the airport you didn't even know if it was still snowing outside. It wasn't! Turns out it only snowed for about two hours on Saturday lunchtime! We listened to announcements from various airlines for example Easyjet, just saying X, Y and Z flights are cancelled, will those passengers please leave the airport and re-book online! No apology - nothing. I am amazed there weren't riots!
Anyhoo finally arrived in Canada at 5am French time - picked up the rental car and made our way home and collapsed into bed. Never going to travel to Canada via UK again, too much margin for problems all around.
But we are safely here and I know many hundreds of people haven't been as lucky so we are duly grateful. It is wonderful to be with family again, Annika has grown up a lot in the past three months and we are taking every opportunity to babysit. Our daughter is loving the in-house babysitting service.
I wish everyone else a wonderful Christmas and happy and safe New Year. Back in 2011.